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This Week With Christiane Amanpour

News/Business. Political guests and viewpoints. New. (CC)

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America 12, Washington 8, Islam 5, Delaware 5, Afghanistan 5, United States 5, Mitch Mcconnell 4, Mcconnell 4, David Axelrod 4, Bob Woodward 4, Matthew Dowd 3, Ron Brownstein 3, Clinton 3, Nevada 3, U.n. 3, Israel 3, Obama 3, Chicago 3, Bob Ehrlich 3, Christine O'donnell 3,
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  ABC    This Week With Christiane Amanpour    News/Business. Political  
   guests and viewpoints. New. (CC)  

    September 26, 2010
    10:30 - 11:30am EDT  

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hello and welcome to our viewers from here and around the world. i'm christiane amanpour and at the top of the news this week, president obama on the ropes. >> i'm exhausted of defending you. >> he faces tough criticism from his own supporters as republicans unveil their pledge to roll back his agenda. >> the government can out of control in washington. >> can democrats mobilize for this political war? will voters buy the republican plan? two "this week" exclusive interview, the president's chief political add adviser david axelrod and the top republican in the senate mitch mcconnell, only on "this week." and queen rania of jordan in a sunday exclusive as the u.s. scrambles to save the middle east peace talks, we get her view. >> extremists have done a good job of using this cause to amplify their message. >> her efforts in the fight against extremism and for the rights of women and children. then obama's real war, afghanistan and bob woodward's
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new inside look at the battles over policy in the white house. we'll discuss that and all the week's politics in our roundtable with george will, donna brazile, matthew dowd and ron brownstein and "the sunday funnies." >> listen to this, one day, delaware elects a witch, the next day the recession is over. i don't know. is that a is that a coincidence? hello again and this week the recession was finally declared over. it officially ended june 2009 but the recovery has been slow and the voters have been losing patience. with five weeks to go before the midterm elections president obama and congressional democrats are facing potentially huge political losses. joining me now the president's top political adviser david axelrod. thank you for joining us.
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>> great to be here. >> i want to first though ask you about something very close to what the president has been doing and that's middle east peace. the moratorium expires tonight. >> yes. >> the president asked the israeli prime minister to keep the moratorium on. he's not going to do it. what is going to stop these talks from collapsing? >> well, look, i don't want to prejudge what's going to happen in the next -- >> but is there a compromise. >> there's still -- the pears are still working. they're still talking. secretary clinton and her team are working with them. we're very eager to keep these talks going. we think this is an unparalleled opportunity and a rare one and we have to seize the advantage of that and we'll urge and urge and push throughout this day to get some kind of resolution. >> you think you managed to urge to keep the moratorium on or is that going to expire? >> i'm not going to get into the details of what's being discussed but what is most important now is that the parties are at the table. they're having serious
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discussions and ought to keep on having them and we are eager to see that happen. >> do you see any creative compromise to make that happen? the palestinians say they would walk. >> well, i understand what the public pronouncements have been but the parties are at the table. they are talking and trying to work there through and hopeful they will. >> uh-huh. you know king abdullah, one of the president's main partners in this process, has said on jon stewart there could be war if this expires. how do you take that? >> look, obviously this is -- there are a lot of stakes here, and i saw that quote. i'm not going to comment on that quote but everyone understands that these talks themselves are absolutely crucial. we're at a pivotal juncture in that region. it's important for israel. it's important for the palestinians. and we think it's essential that they keep on moving forward, keep on talking. keep on trying to work through these issues and. >> will they? >> we're hopeful they will. we're hopeful that they will.
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>> let me turn now to the political situation and particularly in light of something else everybody is talking about. the cnbc town hall meeting the president had at newseum in which one of his staunch defenders stood up and said she was getting tired. let me play this for you. >> quite frankly, i'm exhausted. i'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration. defending the mantel of change that i voted for. >> right. >> and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. i've been told that i voted for a man who said he would change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. i'm one of those people and i'm waiting sir, i'm waiting. >> a lot of people are waiting, mr. axelrod. how is the president, how are you going to jazz your electorate, your base ahead of these election. >> first of all let's understand that we've gone through a terrible time in this country. i understand what she was saying the middle class took a terrible beating not just in the last two years of this recession but over the last ten years we learned in
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the last few days that the middle class lost 5% of their income from 2001 to 2009 and, of course, that period ended with the worst economic crisis since the great depression. the key here is to keep moving forward to keep doing things that have at its core that has at its core the economic security of the middle class which is key to our economic growth. not to go back to the policies that created the crisis in the first place. >> but really a lot of people, i mean people from all over the world frankly say to me here comes a president with a huge mandate. a huge rest record of good will, huge promises to change and with all of that, his popularity is down. people don't appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda that he's accomplished. is this a failure of leadership? has he allowed the opposition to define him. >> i don't think, christiane, that you can say he's accomplished all these amazing things and it's a failure of leadership. it was leadership that produced that. we are in the -- we have endured the worst economic crisis since
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the great depression. it took a decade to build up to that. it'll take more time than anybody would like to deal with the remnants of it. there's devastation as a result of that. and we're working every day -- we're obviously in a different place from january of 2009 when we were losing 700, 800,000 jobs a month. now we've had job growth all this year, private sector job growth but we have to accelerate that and the president has made a series of proposals to do that hopefully we can get some cooperation on the other side to make that happen. >> well, the other side as you know brought out their pledge for america. republicans are feeling very confident right now and people are looking at, you know, what happened in 1994 when president clinton lost congress to the republicans then. and he actually had some advice for president obama which he told george stephanopoulos. i'd like to play that right now and get your reaction. >> i'd like to see him say we couldn't get out of this $3 trillion hole in 21 months. give us two more years.
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don't go back to the policies that dug the hole but if we don't do better this is the last thing, if we don't do better you can volt against us all eni'll be on the ballot too. >> is that good political advice, vote against us all? is that what president obama will take that advice. >> president clinton is a great politician and i'm not in any way going to quarrel with him. i think people in 2012 will vote on this. i don't think they need an invitation to do so. i think the crux of what he's saying is absolutely right, though. when you look at that pledge to america, it is a complete echo of what was done before. it would borrow 7$700 billions o cut taxes for the very wealthy, add trillions of dollars to the deficits. it would unleash the special interest to be writing rules here on capitol hill again and it would cut things like -- there's a 20% cut in there for education. we're talking about our economy, education is the defense budget of the -- economic defense budget of the 21st century and
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they're basically talking about disarmament. 8 million kids would have their college aid slashed under this budget. this isn't a prescription for economic growth. this is a prescription for surrender. we can't do that. >> what about one of the things that the president has been talking about for so long, and that is the tax breaks. why did the democrats decide to push that aside before the midterms. >> well, look, here's where we are and you can talk to your next guest about what the republicans have said and they said it again in this pledge is, what we've said is we want to extend tax cuts for people up to $200,000 of income. that would cover 98% of the american people. they say, no, we won't do that alone. we want to borrow another $700 billion over the next 10 years to give tax cuts it millionaires and billionaires and we're saying we can't afford that, not in our fiscal condition and so -- and now they want to hold those middle class tax cuts hostage until we -- this was and
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until we agree to that and that's something we can't do. >> if you can't do it now and you're not going to do it now how are you going to do it after the election when you might have less of a majority. >> i believe when the republican members return to their districts they will have to explain to their constituents why they're holding up tax cuts for the middle class and i think it's untenable to say we'll allow them to go up january 1st unless the president agrees to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. that's exactly how we got into the jam we were in before. this is how they quadrupled the national debt and exploded the deficits and squandered the surplus that bill clinton left them. >> people are very upset about the national debt and the deficits and all that right now. but also the president talked about extending the middle class tax cuts. can you do that after the election? >> well, we're going to get that done one way or the other. we're going to get it done and i believe the pressure will build among the american people. i don't believe senator
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mcconnell or anybody else will be willing to stand up to the american people and say we'll hold your tax cut hostage so we can give another large tax cut to millionaires and billionaires that we can't afford. >> quick answers to some of the statements that have come out in bob woodward's book particularly some about yourself. general petraeus, the commander now in afghanistan said a couple of things according to the book. one, this white house, they don't know who they're xxx with, messing with and another that he didn't like talking to you because you are "a complete spin doctor." >> well, look, i've seen general petraeus in interviews with you and others and i've always been impressed about how deft he is on tv so i assume he meant that ace compliment. >> you think so. >> yes. >> tell me how you think -- and do you believe there will be a confrontation with what the white house believes to have the drawdown in 2011 and what general petraeus seems to be clearly lays groundwork for that is much, much less of a drawdown if at all by 2011. >> i think general petraeus and
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everyone involved was there through this process and at the end of the possess and everyone agreed that the drawdown would begin in july of 2011 and not a trivial drawdown but a real drawdown. >> one last question. everyone is talking about reshuffles in the white house. rahm emanuel who apparently wants to run for mayor of chicago, will he leave before the midterms? >> well, look, filing for that is november 22nd i believe in chicago and obviously it takes some time if you're going to run for may corps to do it so it stands to reason he would have to leave earlier if he decides to do it and that's something he still is working through. >> what's your -- if you had to bet would he do it and leave before the midterritories. >> i never bet on national television. >> what do you think will happen. >> he's loved the city of chicago and always believed that was the greatest job there is and so i think he's drawn to it. but he still has family considerations to think about.
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and he's working those through. >> david axelrod, thank you very much, indeed. and joining me now is the republican leader in the senate, senator mitch mcconnell. welcome to "this week." >> good morning. >> thank you for joining us. >> glad to be here. >> you heard what david axelrod said about the republican plan on extending all the bush era tax cuts and that it would really, you know, put the country more in hawk. analysts say it'll cause, you know, add some 4 trillion or so to the national debt. are you really going to do that, or do you think there will be a compromise on extending the middle class tax cuts? >> well, let's understand what we're talking about here. this has been the tax rate for a decade talking about raising taxes in the middle of a recession. and most economists think that's the worst thing you could do. the president himself was saying that was the worst thing you could do a year and a half ago. raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a particularly bad idea and republicans don't think that's what we ought to do. >> so do you not think -- i mean
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will you quote/unquote hold the middle tax cuts hostage to all the -- >> nothing is being hostage anything. it was the democrats themselves who decided not to have had. >> would you compromise on that even after -- >> i was the only one who offered a bill. there was never a bill in the senate and you know woo why, 31 democrats in the house, 5 democrats in the senate said they agreed with me that we ought not to raise taxes in the middle of a recession. what might happen down the road is not the subject today. the question is, do we want to raise taxes in the middle of a very, very tough economy, all the republicans think that's a bad idea and a substantial number of the democrats think the same thing. >> right, but there's also this huge thing that the people of the united states are worried about and that is the deficit. >> absolutely. >> and adding -- keeping the tax cuts will add trillions to that and let me ask you this, according to howard glekman at the tax policy center, let's see what he's just written. mcconnell would have to abolish
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all the rest of the government to get a balance by 2020, everything, no more national park, no more nih, no more highway construction, no more homeland security, oh, and no more congress." >> let me tell you -- let me tell you how to reduce the deficit. two things, number one, get spending down and, number two, you need to get the economy going. >> right. >> everything that's happened in the last year and a half has been to pump up the government. we borrowed stimulus money. we spent it to hire new federal government workers and sent it down to state so they would not have to lay off state workers. you have to get the economy going. that's the way you narrow the deficit. you get the economy going and get government spending down. throw a tax increase in there we'll have the recession go on who knows how long? >> but you're still not saying where the big, big cuts would come from. some of the things -- >> let me give you an example. >> social security or medicare, medicaid, wouldn't be the
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defense. >> let me give you an example of something we're doing already. senate republicans offered to freeze the top line on next year's appropriations at a essentially what we spent this year. the difference between that and what the president asked for over a ten-year period would be $300 billion. with regard to the entitlements the president has appointed a deficit reduction commission. i've appointed three members to it. john boehner has apiped three members to it. they will report in december and make a recommendation about what we might do about our long-term unfunded liabilities. we'll wait and see what they recommend but hopefully it will be something that would be supported on a bipartisan basis sm so all of this comes into the pledge for america which was announced this week, a platform for future governing by the republicans. now, many people say that it's simply more of the same. you obviously have heard a lot of that over the last couple of day, basically nothing new. and whether they're left right or center people are complaining
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in fact it doesn't go far enough particularly for the very enthusiastic tea party base that you have. so, for instance, eric erickson has written about this pledge "it's full of mom-tested kid-approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity but like a diet full of sugar it would do nothing but keep making washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high." you're laughing. >> well, any time you do anything in public life, somebody criticizes it. go ahead. i'm sorry to interrupt >> that's all right but i want to ask you how will you satisfy the base which seems to be really an insurrection now, the tea party. would you agree that they're -- >> let me tell you what everybody agrees on. everybody agrees on the primaries are over and we all agree we want to go out and beat the democrats november 2nd. >> right. >> so there's all kinds of energy in the republican party or people who are inclined to vote republican, the tea party people are not all republicans, some independent, but one thing
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we know about everybody who has been active in this movement, we know none will vote democrat on november 2nd. we may have some internal differences about various parts, but everybody knows who's been in charge of the government for the last year and a half. everybody knows who has been in charge of the government for the last year and a half, the democrats have had the white house, they've had a huge margin in the house, a big margin in the senate and they know if they want to save america they've got to change the congress and that's going to happen on november 2nd. >> as you know, the recession was declared over. there's no recession and many will say that, you know, they stopped it from going into a great depression and that they inheertsed this -- >> but christiane -- >> let me ask you this. you say you want it go out and win in november. i want to play for you something that tom ross, the chairman of the republican party in delaware said to me on this program right after christine o'donnell, the tea party candidate won in that last primary in delaware. let's just play what he said.
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>> we had a candidate that was very close to becoming the next united states senator from delaware and essentially people in her own team clipped him as he was about to go on the goal line. >> right. so that's mike castle who they thought would win that election come november. now he's basically saying perhaps not. so how do you square that? i mean do you think these tea party candidates will be good for new november? >> look, there are 12 places now, right now where there's a democratic senator where our candidate is either a little bit behind, dead even or well ahead. california, washington, nevada, colorado, illinois, pennsylvania, indiana, north dakota, arkansas, wisconsin, connecticut, west virginia, we're competitive in a lot of places. will we win them all? who knows. the delaware primary was interesting. new candidate, fresh face, i think she's got a good chance of winning. >> i mean she definitely wasn't your candidate. i mean basically they -- one would say that the public --
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>> you picked out one. i just gave you 12 places where we have a chance of beating democrats. >> what are the qualification qualifications -- do they have? for instance, what is christine o'donnell's qualification for governing? what is sharron angle's actual qualification for governing? >> they won the primary fair and square against real competition and they ee americaed as the nominee. and sharron angle is running no worse than dead even against the majority leader of the senate. i think that's pretty significant. >> you're not afraid there might be a turnoff whether it's -- >> am i afraid of having more republicans in the senate? of course, not. >> that's not the question. are you not afraid that somewhat -- some might say bizarre statements, they're sort of fringe quality might actually turn people off. for instance, what do you say about a sharron angle who i know you just had a fund-raiser for who basically talks about enemies in congress and talks -- and hints about, you know, armed rebellion to put them down.
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is that the kind of talk from a united states senator? >> you know what most americans think is extreme? >> no, i'm asking you that question. >> no, and i'm going to answer it. what most americans think is extreme is the kind of government we've been running for the last year and a half and seen the government taking over bank, insurance company, car company, nationalizing the student loan business. we're on a path to double the national debt in five and triple it this ten. most americans think what's been happening over the last year and a half is extreme and want to change it and know the way to change it is change the congress because you don't get to make policy unless you get elected. >> you didn't tell me what you think about those kind of comments from people who want to be, you know, a senator. i mean it's kind of bizarre, don't you agree? >> i don' think the people of nevada should be attacked for the choice they made in the primary. and the candidate is running dead even with the majority leader of the united states
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senate. obviously the people of nevada think that she is a very good candidate or she wouldn't be running even with someone of such power and significance. >> do you think there will be more bipartisan compromise when they come in or less. >> i think the way to get bipartisan compromise is to not >> i think the way to get bipartisan compromise is to not overwhelming majority an the americople know th d.on't change ated with this the president will still be there for at least two more years but can take the first step of moving this government back toward the poli center and be even a little bit very good election. >> senator mitch mcconnell, a yoy mur jo and middle east peace talks are at a critical stages this weekend. israel's moratorium on settlements expires in a few hours so will the talks collapse? and all this was on the mind of collapse? and all this was on the mind of queen rania of jordan when we she was in new york for the u.n. general assembly. jordan along with egypt are the only two arab countries which
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have made peace with israel and this queen, a mother of four, is on a campaign to promote moderate voices in the arab world and to counter the extremists. >> your majesty, thank you for joining us. >> pleasure, thank you christiane. >> there is a peace process in place right now. everybody is waiting see whether the prime minister of and whether the palestinian moratorium or not? >> well, that's something to be discussed. a ow that a lot of people it's not easy. of people if it was easy it would have happened by now. but what's very important to emphasize is why this peace process is important. why we must not let cynicism or pessimism just dismiss the whole process and if you look at the religious situation and what we are seeing here, the tensions that exist, i'm not saying that the middle east problem is an israeli/palestinian issue that created religious extremism. that would have existed anyway but extremists have done a damn
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good job of using this cause to amplify their message. you know, to try to reach the masses. and we need to realize that when there's a population that is living under occupation, that -- where there's no justice. where they can't send their children to school. where mothers have to deliver on checkpoints and on the other side israelis feel they have to build a bubble, a wall in order to exist safely because they live in such a hostile environment, that is an explosive situation that has repercussions not only in our region but in ouren tire world and see those, even the debates going on in the states, so we have an extremely high stake and vested interest in seeing these negotiations move forward. in terms of the settlements that you were asking me about, you know, whether there is the moratorium continues or not, what matters to me is what actually happens on the ground, you know. if both sides are still talking and in the spirit of peace these -- the settlements are not expanded upon then i think both sides need to be flexible as long as they continue to talk we
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need to see results. the palestinian people and the israeli people need to see change, tangible change in their lives, very soon. >> president obama figures very strongly in this middle east peace process, of course. he's brought the two sides together. unfortunately, pew polls and others now show his popularity dipping in the islamic world including in jordan. what are your thoughts on that. >> simple. let's see what happens with the mid -- if we achieve success with this round of middle east talks then let's check his popularity ratings after that. i think they'll skyrocket. >> you mentioned how this extremist ideology is even coming to play in the united states. you've seen the reaction and the fallout from the islamic center but it goes broader than that. do you see as sort of a dang dangerous islam aphobia. >> it surprised me how inflamed it became. what should drive it is what is the road to reconciliation. this is a center that is about
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religious harmony. it's about tolerance. if people understand this is a center that does not play in the hand of the bin ladens of this world but rather confronts them and undermines them. >> but do you worry people here sometimes conflate, confuse bin laden with islam in general. >> absolutely, absolutely. i think the major failure that we have -- that is going on is an inability or refusal to make a distinction between the extremists like the bin ladens of the world and the rest of the muslims so for me bin laden doesn't represent me. he doesn't represent millions of people, millions of muslims around the world and i think that's one of the worst and cruelest legacies of 9/11 is the fact that it's changed our hearts. it's made people more fearful of people of other religions or people who look different or dress different or -- and it's so contradictory to the most beautiful values of the united states, you know, people look at the united states as a leader in
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terms of religious tolerance and freedom of worship. now people of america need to decide do they want to continue to play this leadership role to the rest of the world? even the arab world, even the muslim world we look up to the united states when it comes to freedoms. >> then how does the muslim world reclaim that moderate center to allay the fears here? >> i think the muslim world has to speak up more. moderates in general have to speak up more. and also when they speak, there needs to be people listening on the other side because this is a debate that affects how the future generations think and feel. >> it's the u.n. general assembly and you're here in part because of the millennium development goals, now, for a lot of people that's jargon but what do the mdgs actually aim for. >> well, in the year 2000 world leaders came together and they made eight promises. you know, dealing with maternal health, child mortality, education, gender equality,
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climate change, cutting down poverty. there has been some progress made but it's been uneven. i think the food crisis, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, all those have meant that in many cases we've limped rather than leaped so we have to redo you believe our efforts to make sure that we reach these goals. >> in the ten years since 2000, what has been achieved on eradicating extreme poverty. that was one promise, making universal primary education accessible. empowering women. >> right. education and empowerment of women are two i'm concerned about because if we reach those two they underpin success for all the other goals. >> many of the reports about the arab world say that one of the reasons it lags behind the rest of the developing world is because it disempowers half its population, i.e., the women. >> i totally agree with that. when you look at the middle east and north africa region, one of the biggest spenders on education and in most countries
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there is gender parity in terms of education so even across 12 of the arab states you have just as many girls as boys going to school and in many cases many more women graduating from university than men. but the problem is that although we're making these investments in women we're not reaping the benefits because they're not going into the workplace. >> do you get pushed back from more is lambic groups in jordan. >> not necessarily islamic because islam doesn't say women shouldn't work but there are certain conservative mind-sets that think that it's either/or. either you work or you have a family. you can't do both. we're still at a very low level in terms of female participation but women are proving member tallahassees in the business sector. we have women in the army. we have women in the security forces. we have female judges, entrepreneurs all over. but it's going to be incremental and sometimes it's generational. you can't have, you know, the western way of doing things
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can't be the -- our i have way of doing things in your imagine industry, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you very much, christiane. >> when we come back our roundtable they're all here and ready to go, george will, donna brazile, ron brownstein of "the national journal" and matthew dowd so please stay with us. we'll be right back. in the sky ♪ 's planes ♪ for a chain of supply, that's logistics ♪ ♪ when the parts for the line ♪ ♪ come precisely on time ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a continuous link, that is always in sync ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ carbon footprint reduced, bottom line gets a boost ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ with new ways to compete ♪ there'll be cheers on wall street, that's logistics ♪ ♪ when technology knows ♪ right where everything goes, that's logistics ♪
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your your idea sounds slightly like -- did i say slightly. exactly like your old ideas. >> cut washington red tape.
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>> act immediately to reduce spending. >> have real reforms reduce spending? >> change the way we do business in washington. >> change business as usual in washington. >> make the tax cuts permanent. >> make the existing tax cuts permanent. >> a smaller -- >> smaller. >> less costly. >> less costly. >> and more accountable. >> and more accountable government in our nation's capital. >> jon stewart from "the daily show" with his own take on the pledge to america. one of the topics we'll discuss today on our roundtable with george will, democratic strategist donna brazile, ron brownstein of "the national journal" and matthew dowd former bush political strategist. welcome to you all, so, george, pledge to america, it's nice, it's glossy, lots of pictures. is it new? >> no, in the sense that mr. stewart is quite right. republicans are acting like republicans sort of what they want to do, less spending smaller government prepared against the backdrop of what i
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considered the most important number in the blizzard of numbers we're hearing, one in four americans expects their economic condition to be better next year than this year so they're gloomy. they blame it on that institution, six blocks away and the one ten blocks away that way. >> congress and the white house. >> congress and the white house and that's why in that pledge the word spending appears 47 times. 's per funtry nod to the social issues but this is about economics. >> spending, i tried to get it out of senator mcconnell. you know, they talk about rolling back spending but where? where are they going to take on the big, big, big issues of soibl security and the rest? >> the interesting thing about this first of all the only people that will have read this are the person that wrote it and maybe the person that printed it. it's not going to have any effect on the electric. the problem with what the country has they don't trust either party on spending. they went through years where spending rose dramatically.
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two years into the obama administration where spending has risen dramatically so the country doesn't trust either so they're trying to kick out the next round, they're going to kick out a whole bunch in this year, 2010. that's the problem. the country does not trust either political party to do what they want to do so that's why they're sending what many consider fringe candidates to washington. >> not only the political parties they trust. i would amendment or disagree with george a little bit. what happened after 2008 after the financial meltdown was trust cratered in both government and business. obama overestimated the extent to which the public would be looking, clearly would be looking to government to counteract business be it have a larger role in the economy and seeing the backlash of that now. clearly a portion of what's happening now is an ideological backlash among voters who don't trust washington to do the kind of things the democrats have set it on a road to do. on the other hand a tremendous loss of faith in business, as well.
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i think republicans do face the risk depending on how they interpret of what happens in heavy coming in as in '95 trying to go foo far in the other direction and seeing a backlash against that government. we've done polling. only one-third of americans say they support extending the bush cuts to everybody. only one-third support the idea of repealing health care completely and only one-third support the idea of converting medicare into a voucher for seniors as some of the house republican want to do. >> christian yang, it's retro. it's recycled old material from the past. it's vague. it's a fig leaf to cover the thinness of their proposals. there is some spending in that booklet. it's spending more on the military. it's spending money that we don't have. it's spending more on tax cuts that we can't afford so this is an opportunity for republicans to finally say we're for something but gives democrats to say what they're being against over the last 18 month. >> given what ron said about the numbers and what people think about health care and the rest
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why then haven't the democrats been able to translate into a positive message. >> because i think it's been very difficult to have a narrative that tells the american people exactly what they don't want to hear, that we've spent your money, your taxpayers' money to try to avoid total meltdown on the economy to invest in things that the republicans didn't care about and to try to put the economy back on a sane footing. that is not translated into votes and it hasn't given democrats a real opportunity to campaign. >> i think the real problem is that nothing has happened since barack obama took office that's positive in the american public's mind. their health care costs have risen. premiums have risen on health care. the job situation has worsened. the deficit has worsened. everything since january 20th, 2009 has gotten worse. >> when you say nothing's happened. he pushed a huge amount through congress, unprecedented amount. are you saying nothing happened or the message hasn't gotten lew. >> the public does not judge
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success based on passing a bill in washington but by whether or not their life is better and it has not change sfwld there is no depression. the recession has ended. >> yeah, but they're not seeing tangible gains in their life as matthew said. look, i think you have two things -- the public view is pretty nuanced when you look at polling and talk to people. by and large more americans think that the policies of bush then obama certainly led to this -- taking us into this c cataclism and have nudged it has not made things better, the driving force of the electric. what democrats are trying to do by focusing on republican policies is saying look the issue shouldn't be what happened over the last 20 months, shouldn't be a referendum but a choice about alternative directions going forward. that is i hard place to get the voters in a midterm election. >> you think it will be a referendum. >> look at the difficulties they have. passed a stimulus which by their own values did not stimulate. they passed a health care bill that may not be as michael
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barrone says which may not be the most popular thing. it's unpopular and said we'll run against george w. bush. well, in ohio mr. portman is about to be elected senator who was a close aide of george bush. let's run against wall street. well, in ohio, mr. kasich is leading. he worked for lehman brothers. none of these standard lines of their worked. >> we were just talking about. you mentioned fringe. i asked senator mcconnell about some of these tea party candidates who may be going to the senate. you've just written this article, "extreme makeover" whose subtitle is midterm elections could send the most conservative class of new senators in at least the past half century. what will that mean? >> well, it's going to be -- i think it's going to be a stronger infusion of conservative energy and more uniformly conservative energy than we saw even in the class of '94 or 1980. there are a range of views among
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this class, we looked at the 21 republican senate challengers with the best chance of winning. the range of views in terms of the long-range agenda. christine o'donnell or sharron angle or joe miller would go further than portman or blount, the more conventional candidates but when you look at what is actually going to be on the table, in the next couple year, there is more unanimity and a more consistently conservative line among this republican class than we have seen at any point. quick examples. all 21 say they will extend the bush tax cuts, 20 of 21 say they will oppose any future tax hikes 20 of 20 took the position of support a balanced budget amendment and oppose cap and trade, 19 of the 20 who it can a position say global climate change is unproven or actually a hoax so in the near -- in the long term there may be differences about some kays wanting to go further about rolling back the minimum wage, unemployment benefits but on what they will actually be dealing with, you will see i think a very strong poll toward a more conservative consistently
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conservative position in that republican caucus. >> add to the deficit, all these tax cuts. >> making all of those things add up will be the challenge both in the near term and long term, absolutely. >> but, you know, the republicans have a great story right now to tell. excuse my voice. i was up watching the game last night. but the problem i have and the republicans should understand is that there's still an internal civil war going on within the republican party in washington state, in delaware, in colorado. many of the mainstream republican candidates have not endorsed the tea party candidates that they have provided enthusiasm. they provide a lot of energy, an organization for the republican party, but we don't know yet if the republicans can heal those wounds and provide the kind of turnout -- >> i think if you gave most democrats truth serum, they would pick the republicans' place rather than their own place in the election. the problem for the class coming in for the republicans is for mitch mcconnell who you just
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talked to is his ability to herd them will be like herding quail. they'll think i'm not going to be part of this and i'm not going to listen to the voleader but i'll listen to the what the voters want to do. >> in today's newspaper, there is a quote by a senior republican, you know, consultant that after the elections it's going to be basically all-out war, a struggle for the heart and the soul of the republican party. you're shaking your head. >> they've been writing this story for eight months about what a problem the tea party is for the republican party. you know what the problem is -- >> tom ross told us they lost because of that and might lose. >> on balance across the country the tea party is an enormous help for the republicans. at the beginning the question was will they play nicely with others own obey the rules of politics? who is not playing nicely. mr. crist discovers that he's an independent and changes all his views overnight. mrs. murkowski loses a primary and suddenly discovers she has a
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property right and she'll run as a write-in. senator bennet thought of that in utah, castle in delaware is thinking of a write-in candidate. who are the extremists here? >> arlen specter, you got arlen specter. >> i say, look, clearly this class of republicans do not feel they are being sent here to washington to compromise with barack obama or to follow the republican leadership so in that sense there is going to be tension and i quote ken buck in my story as saying so. if you look at what they'll be voting on in all likelihood over the next two years there is remarkable unanimity in this class and despite the focus on the civil war i think that is a -- with a long-range vision of what the federal government should be doing or not doing is where you will see divergence. in the near term, in the near term i think in terms -- the main thing the republicans are being sent here to do, to block and try to roll back whatever they can of what obama did. the spending thing will continue to be a challenge. if you want to reduce the
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deficits and extend bush tax cuts that points you back toward cutting medicare and medicare which is what they got in '85 and may end up in that cul-de-sac next year. there is more commonality in the class and on the near term they will be a formidable and cohesive force. >> look at the not so near term. in the next two cycles, 2012 and 2014 compliend the democrats are defending senate seats and the republican wave now starting is just starting. >> you know -- >> a real war and afghanistan and bob woodward's up side fly on the wall look at it. can i ask you, yes, he is a brilliant writer and he sells book. why would the white house after and over again give him the keys. >> this happened in the bush white house. there's this appeal about him based on 30 something years ago and what happened with watergate and he has an aura about him that people think they have to talk to him if they want to be part of the history. that bob woodward, if you have
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to talk to him for them to tell your narrative. they sit around and have sandwiches or iced tea and lemonade and talk because they want to be part of history. >> turned out quite well would you say for the administration. >> it showed that the president was decisive, that he was involved deeply in the strategy in afghanistan, that he participated in all of the internal discussions and that he allowed his inner circle to have disagreements. i think people talked about woodward because they know that bob will talk to you or go talk behind your back to someone who knows you. >> whatever the answer is i wish i knew because it seems to be a great way to get, you know, a best-selling book but what the book portrays is i think understandable ambivalence. would not be ambivalent about the choice of letting them devolve into chaos and going forward with all the problems we face with a very weak partner there. >> last word, george. >> the book distracted attention from the fact that/corrupt government elected by a corrupt election presided over another corrupt election in afghanistan.
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>> this weekend was pretty dire for that, indeed and this conversation will continue in the green room and we just also wanted to give you a word about a special program next week. the plans to be build that islamic center near ground zero has unleashed an international debate raising questions about america's uneasy relationship with islam. so next sunday we're going to hear from all sides in this debate. it's going to be called "holy wars: should we be afraid of islam?" you can submit questions on my facebook page or website abcnews.com/townhall. this coming friday diane sawyer anchors a special edition of "20/20" reporting on islam and taking all the questions and answers. still to come on "this week," though, in memorial and "the sunday funnies" and we'll be right back. [ wind howling ] [ technician ] are you busy?
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>> we remember all of those who died in war this week. the pentagon released the names of 20 service members killed in afghanist afghanistan. we'll be right back. lately, markets han having the security of a strong financial partner certainly lets you breathe easier. for more than 140 years, pacific life has helped millions of americans build a secure financial future
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it is. ♪ finally this morning our picture this week, a moment in history. >> i am not satisfied as an american with the progress that we're making. this is a great country. but i think it could be a greater country and this is a powerful country but i think it could be a more powerful country. >> and that was 50 years ago today when more than 80 million americans watched john f. kennedy and richard nixon hold the first ever televised presidential debate. viewers saw a calm and cool relatively unknown candidate on the same stage as the vice president, who refused to wear makeup and looked uncomfortable. kennedy, of course, won the election and after that campaign nixon never debated again. but the format spread around the world and tv face-offs have become common rituals in
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